England and Wales population up

Population by age and sex, England and Wales, 2011

Population by age and sex, England and Wales, 2011

The first figures from the 2011 census have been released and show there has been a huge increase in the population of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The census - carried out in March last year - found there were 53 million people in England; 3.1 million in Wales; and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland.

It also revealed there were 33 times as many people over 90 as there were a century ago.

Here's a round up of what the first England and Wales data reveals. UK-wide census-based population estimates, including Scotland, will be released in December 2012.

More people

The population of England and Wales has risen by 3.7 million in a decade, up to 56.1 million, the census shows. It is the largest growth shown by any census since they began in 1801.

The growth was fuelled by increased life expectancy, a rise in fertility rates and migration, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Chart of the rising population of England and Wales
Ageing population

The figures also indicate the population is ageing, with the median age rising to 39 in 2011 from 35 in 2001.

The percentage of the population aged 65 and over was the highest seen in any census at 16.4% - or one in six people.

Figures in detail

PDF download Office for National Statistics: Census 2011[460 KB]

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The number of people over the age of 90 also went up. There were 430,000 residents within their 10th decade in 2011, compared with 340,000 in 2001 and 13,000 in 1911.

The census showed that higher percentages of people aged 65 and over lived along the coast of England, in the south west, south east and east.

Eastern European emigration

European population growth between 2001 and 2011 differed greatly between countries.

While some, such as Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain and England, saw big increases, others, mainly in eastern Europe, experienced population losses.

Latvia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Germany and Poland all saw their populations decrease.

Chart showing population growth and loss across Europe
Regional differences

Although all of the wider regions of England and Wales saw population growth in the last decade, within those regions some local authorities saw theirs decline.

The biggest population growth was seen in London's Tower Hamlets (up 26.4%) and Newham (up 23.5%), while Manchester showed the third highest growth - up 19%.

Overall, 10 of the 20 authorities with the highest percentage growth were in London. The 19 most densely populated authorities were also in London.

In contrast, almost half of the local authorities with a declining population were in north-west England, and a further four were in north-east England. The ONS suggested this could be, in part, down to the decline in traditional manufacturing industries in these areas.

England and Wales authorities: Top population rises

Council 2001 population 2011 population % change since 2001

1. Tower Hamlets, London

201,000

254,000

26.4

2. Newham, London

249,000

308,000

23.5

3. Manchester, north-west England

423,000

503,000

19.0

4. Hackney, London

207,000

246,000

18.9

5. Hounslow, London

216,000

254,000

17.6

6. Greenwich, London

218,000

255,000

17.1

7. Milton Keynes, south-east England

213,000

249,000

17.0

8. Leicester, east Midlands

283,000

330,000

16.7

9. Peterborough, east of England

157,000

184,000

16.6

10. Waltham Forest, London

222,000

258,000

16.3

England and Wales authorities: Top population losses

Council 2001 population 2011 population % change since 2001

Note: % change may not appear correct due to rounding. Source: Office for National Statistics

1. Barrow-in-Furness, north-west England

72,000

69,000

-4.0

2. Knowsley, north-west England

151,000

146,000

-3.5

3. Sefton, north-west England

283,000

274,000

-3.2

4. Sunderland, north-east England

285,000

276,000

-3.2

5. Redcar and

Cleveland, north-east England

139,000

135,000

-2.9

6. Burnley, north-west England

90,000

87,000

-2.8

7. Kensington and Chelsea, London

162,000

159,000

-2.2

8. Middlesbrough, north-east England

141,000

138,000

-2.0

9. West Somerset, south-west England

35,000

35,000

-1.1

10. Hyndburn, north-west England

82,000

81,000

-1.0

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